The Motherhood Journey of Our Founder, Hanna (Axel) ♡

Posted by on

This Mother's Day, we're excited to delve into a heartwarming story from the Axel & Ash family. Our founder, Hanna (Axel), recently embarked on the most thrilling adventure of all - motherhood - as she welcomed her beautiful daughter "Alaska Wilde" earth side. From the moments of blissful cuddles and contagious giggles to navigating the complexities of running a business with a little one, she shares all the intimate moments that define the joyful chaos of motherhood!

Hanna, congrats on Becoming a Mama! How do you feel the transformation has been?  

Becoming a mother has been so much fun! It's just this huge exciting ride of gratitude, joy, exhaustion, overwhelm, bliss, appreciation, awe, patience, sacrifice,  amazement, worry, connection and this unconditional devotion all mixed into a beautiful cuddly mess!

It's absolutely fascinating to me how suddenly this tiny stranger enters our lives and commands our undivided attention. They cry, poop and spit up on you, keep you awake all night, take over your body, and create all sorts of beautiful messes around you, yet somehow, they manage to steal your heart and completely transform your world and all your priorities to have you do anything for them - 24/7! It's truly awe-inspiring!

What's your favourite thing about being a mum?

In just five short months, I've come to know this mini-me like no other. Spending basically every waking and sleeping moment together, we've become inseparable. She is my most cherished sidekick. From day one, we've been bringing her everywhere we go - to dinners, treks, waterfall hikes, full day beach sessions, parties, surf hangs, and she adds this extra layer of joy and fun to everything we do. Even in the midst of the mundane and repetitive, I find so much marvel in her innocent wonder and adorable curiosity as she explores the world around her. 

You named your daughter "Alaska Wilde", what inspired her name?

Funnily enough I typically struggle with naming decisions - it's taken me months and polls amongst friends to choose names for all of our books (which are my previous babies :)! However, when it came to naming my daughter, "Alaska Wilde" came to me the moment I knew I was pregnant and it was never a doubt. I'd never came across either as a name before, but I absolutely love both words.

The name "Alaska" is a devotion to my partner, who spent his childhood years in Alaska, a place that holds great significance for him. To me, it symbolizes the essence of wilderness, exploration, wonder, and resilience. Amusingly Alaska was my idea, and whilst I insisted on naming her after him, my partner was keen on naming her "Axel" after me! The choice of Wilde as the middle name reflects our adventurous spirits and untamed hearts, always seeking new experiences - something we want to instill in our children!

Do you have any nicknames or other names 

We lovingly call her "Lala" or "Lalis" now. While she was in the womb we referred to her as "Eleven" because she was due on the special 11/11. I said that if she's born on her due date - we'll name her "Eleven". In her early months, I affectionately called her "Porky" or "Pork Burrito" because of her adorable piglet-like sounds and the way she looked when my boyfriend swaddled her like a cute burrito. My dad calls her 'ice-cube' because of Alaska :)

What's your favourite thing about Alaska?

That she's such adventurous, excited little soul with a heart full of love for people. And she is so curageous and curious - whether she's on a hike, taking a dip in the cold ocean or waterfall, falls or hears loud noises, she doesn't get scared or cry! It's like she fearlessly embraces every new experience with wide-eyed excitement instead - and she is only 5 months! Instead of cries, there's just surprise in her eyes followed by the biggest grin you've ever seen. And oh, that smile! It has the power to melt my heart ♡. When she wakes up and spots me or her Pappa, her whole face lights up in one infectious smile, erasing any tiredness just makes you want to cuddle her! 
And from her tiny fingers to her uncoordinated limbs, I am captivated by every move she makes as she explores the world around her. Witnessing her growth and development, seeing her mind, body, and spirit come together harmoniously, is a blessing like no other. Those precious moments remind me just how lucky I am to be on this extraordinary adventure of motherhood.

baby room map

You gave birth to your own little daughter in Byron Bay - tell us about it.

We are beyond lucky to live in our little paradise - the idyllic Byron Bay - surrounded by surf beaches, waterfalls, double rainbows, dolphins and rainforest hikes. The fact that I got to give birth to, and bring up my own little daughter in this serene, magical setting is actually a dream. Byron Birthcentre is a place that advocates for natural birth, and the power of the birthing process - where medical interventions are minimized, allowing mothers to embrace the innate strength and wisdom of their bodies during childbirth. This unique approach resonates deeply with me, and I felt incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to give birth there. 

Guided by my sister who had flown all the way from Sweden, my beautiful partner (who surpassed all my expectations), a sacred birthing crystal from my best friend,  and the lovely midwives, we together welcomed my daughter into the world with one huge, loooong, loud united growl from everyone (as she has been crowning for 2 hr and needed to get out)! It was the most insane primal journey I’ve ever gone on, claiming all my power, courage and strength whilst moving intuitively through every contraction. It's such a wild experience, it's like you're there but also you're not. I feel as if I was beyond this world, entering a portal to another dimension to pick up my and bring my baby Earth Side. 

You released the "Becoming MAMA" pregnancy journal two years ago - What inspired you to design a Mama Journal before experiencing the miracle of giving birth yourself?

All the journals I've created has been about capturing the adventures & journeys of my own life. Starting with "WANDERLUST," which I came up with during my free-spirited exploration of the world, then "BUCKETLIST," which was born from the dream to capture & fulfil my own wildest dreams - from swimming in chocolate to dancing on a roof top in New York and starting my own business. Then came "ROADTRIP" to capture my chapter of living the van-life dream, and then "PAUSE" when it all got a lot and I needed a space to rest from the whirlwind life.

To me, life had always been all about adventuring and discovering new horizons, but I knew I'd soon reach a point where I felt like 'I'd done it all' - I'd checked off most of my dream trips, fulfilled two of my dream careers, and indulged in all the fun, glamorous parties & wild exciting festivals. Then there was one adventure left unexplored - the wild ride of motherhood.

Even if I wasn't personally ready for the whole baby gig just yet, I knew I wanted it to be a future chapter of my journey. And just as my other journals served as guides and sources of inspiration for adventures, capturing every moment and milestone along the way, I wanted to create a space for moms-to-be to capture the most transformative adventure of them all—the year when "You become Two." Motherhood, with all its joys and challenges, is the ultimate journey, and I felt this urge to create a journal that could accompany and support mothers on this incredible path of becoming. 

Can you share a bit about your creative process in designing the Mama Journal?

I had the pleasure of co-creating this journal with Canadian Mama, Nadia Bullock, and it was an absolute labor of love that spanned across time zones and continents, from Canada to Byron Bay. Our collaboration was a whirlwind of endless 6-hour Zoom calls, laughter, fun, stress and shared passion. Working alongside doulas, midwives, and other professionals added even more depth to our project.

Nadia, being a mother herself, brought an invaluable Mama perspective and insight to the journal, while I contributed my expertise in creative journal-ism (literally haha) and design. Together, we envisioned what we would have wanted on our own journeys and poured our hearts and souls into crafting the pages, carefully selecting prompts for each week, incorporating meaningful quotes, conducting interviews, and creating spaces for reflection that would resonate with every mother on their unique journeys.

Interestingly, our creative process took exactly 9 months, mirroring the gestation period of a baby ♡! The process was filled with excitement, creativity, and a deep sense of purpose as we worked tirelessly to birth the most comprehensive a journal we could to be the best companion for new mothers from any walk of life.

How was it to get to use your own journal to document your pregnancy story? What was your favourite part?

Oh my goodness, this is so bias, but I can't even put into words how much I loved it. Every time I sat down to write in it, I couldn't help but smile. The attention to detail and thought we put into each week paid off big time and it truly captures every intricate little detail and the physical, spiritual and emotional journey of pregnancy every week, as well life around it - which was our goal!

I loved 'A Page for Your Partner' and the beautifully prompted 'delivery & birth story' pages...' and the 'letter to my newborn'. Oh, and the monthly bump pics and the section to choose the baby's name. Reading the interviews and feature pages again and actually putting it all into practice was so much fun! And adding in my own photos... I can't even choose a favourite as I actually find it all curated so perfectly! It' sounds extremely self-absorbent, but I am head over heels in love with this journal, and a big wish of mine would be for every pregnant mama in the world to get a chance to use it!

You can have a peek inside the journal here

In your journey into motherhood - what have you found an unexpected struggle and what's been unexpectedly easy? 

I'm so lucky to be able to say that 'Lala' is now 5 months and so far, it's been super smooth, fun and positive. Dealing with less sleep hasn't been as big of an issue to me as for many other moms, mainly because I never had a strict sleep routine anyway and I'm used to minimal sleep. I've also had amazing support from my partner, sister, and visiting parents all helping putting her to sleep, which has been beautiful! I'm a big believer in a tribe-style upbringing where not only the mum is the main caretaker but everyone gets to hold and play with the baby from the get-go, so that the child feels comfortable falling asleep in different arms - and it's been amazing to see Lala growing to be super happy and comfortable in anyone's arms! I think it's empowering for kids to not be 'addicted' to only their mother, whilst still showering them with love, of course! 

The biggest challenge for me was definitely having excruciating nipple pain for two months. It was sooo tough, and I was scared of the next feed always! Fellow mum's who've had the same issue said it will past, and I was determined to keep breastfeeding to provide the best nutrition for my baby. Whilst many said it will disappear after a month - mine only got worse! But then miraculously, one day 2 months in or so, it just wasn't there anymore. So for all the mamas going through the same, Don't give up! They told me 'it will pass' and I barely believed them - but it did!

How has motherhood changed your perspective on life and your work at Axel & Ash?

As someone who has always lived a 'selfish' life, super driven and dedicated to my work, running my own business with the freedom to work anywhere and anytime, welcoming my daughter into this world has inevitably added a new layer of complexity to my productivity. It's been a huge adjustment to accept that my independence and personal & work time - especially for creative projects - have taken a backseat.

I now experience the delicate balance of tending to my work responsibilities while she is sleeping, and trying to be fully present for her development. There are times when work demands feel overwhelming, but when I see her craving my attention, my priorities are easily shifted. She's just such a fun little character that the need to work pales in comparison to her radiant smile and delight for anything and everything - and the significance of being fully present for her wins every time (unfortunately for my business :/ ) 

What were the essentials that got you through that early newborn phase?

I owe a lot of the ease I've felt to my incredible partner - he's such a beautiful, 'natural' pappa! He's put her to sleep by himself from day one and often wakes up and grabs her when she wakes up in the middle of the night. Having someone else get up, change the nappy and hand her to you to feed when you’re exhausted is priceless! And he loves going on little adventures with her, or taking her places so I can get a rest. 

We also lucked out in terms of parenting values. We both believe in letting our child be wild, roam, explore, and play in nature. We're both of the belief that babies are resilient, and none of us have been been big on strict schedules or obsessing over babies comfort. Instead we always think of it as if we’re originally from the jungle, and believe in letting Lala adapt to all kinds of environments rather than us adapting to her. She now loves meeting new people and can sleep soundly anywhere, to any noise - both which has made our lives so much easier.
This has been a massive essential to my well-being through the newborn stage! 

Having the most beautiful support from our tribe has been a true blessing too. With my sister and grandparents coming to stay, and our amazing tribe of friends showering us with love and even offering their time to bring food and babysit and coming to play - I feel so grateful.

As for material things :

  • A little sleeping nest for co-sleeping in bed when she was a newborn was something we loved to keep her safe and snug yet close.
  • Our car capsule has been a favourite so that we can move her around while she's sleeping without waking her up. From 6 months the car seat is fixed and that's a massive loss for me as we're very much on the move and it's been so easy with that. 
  • And - of course our MAMA journal! 

What's something you want to say to new Mamas?

To me, the key is to make the baby fit into your life rather than the other way around. Stay easy-going, create a loving village, and enjoy the journey with your little one. They don't need super special, sterile treatment, the love just being part of your life!

Also - I know how tiring those nightly feeds and cluster feeds can be! My tip in those moments when you feel exhausted and just can not wake up - again! is to just remember that you are the world to your little one - you're the ultimate source of love and comfort and everything! So I started this technique where instead of letting myself feel tired I put on a forced fake smile, and then it's like a switch flips inside me, and suddenly the forced smile turns into a real heartfelt one, and I can't help but feel happy and eager to take care of my little one. It's just a little mmind-game that's been so helpful to me ♡.

What is your wish for all mothers on this Mother's Day?

Whilst I think every day is Mother's day - My wish for all Mamas on this special day is for them to be spoilt - not with presents, but with time, creativity, gratitude and love. I'm a big advocate for celebrating birthdays and special occasions as it’s a great reminder to to put a spark on the every day mundane and make and effort to make your loved ones feel an abundance of love, appreciation, and gratitude. It doesn't need to be big, but just going out of the norm to do something cute, creative or fun that you know matters for them, and puts a smile on their heart!

Happiest Mother's Day
to all you beautiful women that have birthed, adopted, raised, supported & loved children!


    ← Older Post

    Leave a comment